I am working with a group of high school students who want to make podcasts entirely from their iPads. They’re doing this with Garage Band, which is the natural choice in my opinion. Garage Band on iOS has some limitations that the full Garage Band on Mac doesn’t have, of course, but I have found some workarounds.
Garage Band for iOS does not come with the iLife Sound Effects that the Mac version has. My school purchased a site license for sounds years ago that the kids can use in movie projects where sound effects and royalty free music were not available the kids. We’re glad we have that now so they have access to these sounds from their iPads. They’re hosted on our school’s file server which the kids can access through WebDav file sharing.
The real difficulty here comes when trying to add these sounds to Garage Band on an iPad. In order to add sounds to a song in Garage Band, as the system is designed, best practice would be to put the sound into your computer’s iTunes Library, and then sync that library to your iPad. They you can just access those sounds through the media browser in Garage Band. But since this is a shared collection of MP3 files on our server, and since not every student in our school has access to a computer with iTunes to sync sounds to their iPads, that system doesn’t work for us. The solution for us requires a 100% iPad workflow.
Another issue with Garage Band for iOS is the absence of fade controls for individual tracks or sound clips. Garage Band does include, in version 2.0.6, the ability to fade the end of the entire song, but only at the very end and only fade out, not fade in. The workflows below will show a solution for this problem as well.
The following apps are required for this workflow (maybe there are other apps out there, but this is what I’ve come up with so far):
- AudioShare – can open and convert MP3 files to a Garage Band compatible file, trim and fade and copy it to the clipboard for pasting into Garage Band tracks.
- AudioCopy – is a free app that AudioShare requires as a companion app. AudioCopy is how AudioShare handles the copying portion of this workflow. You won’t see AudioCopy mentioned in this workflow because it is automatically used by AudioShare when needed, however it has a nice gesture based sound editor, so try it out if you like that sort of thing.
- WebDAV Nav+ – MP3 files are shared via WebDAV on our school network. This app (you could use any WebDAV app for iPad) let’s us download the MP3s from our file server.
- Garage Band for iOS – can layer audio tracks, has built in musical instruments so kids can make their own jingles and background audio songs, and the audio recorder has some great sound effects you can use to alter the way your voice sounds. One kid could have multiple characters!
A Summary of the Workflow:
Files are downloaded using WebDAV Nav+ and then opened in AudioShare. AudioShare will convert the files to a format that can be copied and pasted into Garage Band on your iPad and also includes an editor that can trim and fade tracks. Additionally, sounds created in Garage Band can be sent to AudioShare for fading in and out, an edit that is not built into Garage Band.
Here is the workflow to add a shared MP3 from our WebDAV Server:
- Locate the desired MP3 in WebDAV Nav+
- Use the Open in… feature to open the MP3 in AudioShare
- In AudioShare, use the Tools -> Convert feature to make it a format compatible for pasting into Garage Band on iPad (just using the default settings of the convert tool works great).
- In AudioShare, hit the AudioCopy button and choose AudioCopy 2 as the pasteboard.
- Head into Garage Band and paste the audio into a new audio track. Or …
- From the tools menu you can choose Trim & Fade, make your adjustments and then copy and paste your track over to Garage Band.
If you want to fade a particular track you’re working with in Garage Band, here’s the workflow:
- Isolate the track you want to fade by muting all other tracks in your Garage Band file.
- Head out to the My Songs section of Garage Band. Use the Select button to choose your song. Give it a meaningful name to help you identify it in your AudioShare library. If they’re all called “My Song” you’re going to get confused.
- Select the sharing arrow (sharrow) button in Garage Band and select Open in… Select AudioShare to open the sound.
- Use the Tools -> Convert feature of AudioShare to make it a Garage Band compatible format, then with Tools -> Trim & Fade you can fade in and out, and trim the track to the desired length.
- Select the Save button when you’re finished and
- Select the AudioCopy button and choose AudioCopy 2 as the pasteboard and then head back into Garage Band.
- Back in Garage Band now, create a new blank audio track and paste in your copied clip from AudioShare.